Get Outta Here

HE salutes New Yorker film essayist Richard Brody for selecting Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street as tied for first place among his Best Movies of 2013. Good man! On the other hand Brody has chosen Terrence Wackadoodle‘s To The Wonder as the other top-of-the-list champ…the fuck? Wait, it gets worse. Brody is declaring that All Is Lost and Before Midnight are among the four shittiest films of 2013 (along with Gravity and The Great Beauty). Brody doesn’t literally mean they’re the pits — he means that that in his head, they delivered “the greatest disproportion between the emblazoned ambition and the mediocrity of the result.”

  • SmaugAlert

    All Is Lost… see what is happening behind the scenes when you see a Silver Alert on the highway sign.

    • DimitriL

      I believe Computer Chess was Ebert’s last published review (To the Wonder was the last one he wrote).

    • Jason T.

      Pretty sure it’a getting lots of eyes on it on Netflix, where I got to see it and where I also got to see both TO THE WONDER and UPSTREAM COLOR.

  • roland1824

    Besides his insane “worst” movies of the year, the meat of Brody’s list has so many dubious rankings and inclusions, you just might want to tread lightly on trumpeting that you guys park your cars in the same garage on “Wolf”…

  • Michael

    No, Brody means All is Lost and Gravity suck. Period. Take that for intellectual inspiration of somebody who doesn’t give a shit about Oscar Noms and Oscar Add Revenues, plain simple: Somebody who is a true Samurai poet Warrior with an independent voice…

    • merton82

      Considering the “greatest disproportion” quote is Brody’s qualification, not Jeff’s reading, you’re wrong on this one. And while I think Brody deserves respect, as he’s a good writer with an excellent base of film knowledge, he reads a little self-consciously contrarian and his worst list reeks of this. Let’s not forget that Armond White meets all the qualifications of your Samurai Poet with an independent voice…

      • bill weber

        The new definition of a cinema “contrarian”: someone who dares not cut n’ paste the most hyped studio releases of the fall into their annual wrap-up.

        • merton82

          I forgot that All is Lost, Before Midnight, and The Great Beauty were all “hyped studio releases”, unlike the little-indie-that-could Wolf of Wall Street.

          And if you think Brody isn’t very consciously and directly responding to others’ critical praise, you’re living on another planet. His four worst movies just so happen to be staples of top ten lists everywhere and he did so without being pointed about it??

          • bill weber

            Before Midnight was released by the Sony Corporation.

            I disagree entirely with Brody about All Is Lost, but I don’t think his opinion is a character flaw.

    • Jason T.

      Agreed. Brody can be pretentious to a fault but often his head is in the right place, unlike the faux-pretentions that Wells tries to get over on his readers.

      • Glenn Kenny

        Brody’s not “pretentious.” He’s smart. He’s better read than Jeff, than myself, or anyone else on this thread. (“No offense,” as Jeff likes to say with utter insincerity.) He reads and writes fluently in at least one other language, and he has scads of philosophical thought and theory at his disposal. He’s pretty much everything and more that Jeff resented when he was coming up through New York film journalism thinking he was Youngblood Hawke, and then being informed in no uncertain terms by the “dweebs” that he wasn’t even Irving Forbush.

        That said, Richard does have a tendency toward eccentricity, although his splitting of the top vote in this case is probably the least eccentric thing about his top film list. It’s a hardcore auteurist move. I was hoping it would make Jeff’s head explode a little more severely, to tell you the truth.

        • Patrick Murtha

          I think a commenter on another one of Brody’s New Yorker pieces summed him up best:

          Brody is a phenomenon. He speaks with erudition. He builds arguments with bits of evidence, concretely piling one piece atop another…and yet his conclusions are usually absurd and nonsensical, and each convicting piece of evidence is, when looked it without the prejudice of Brody’s rhetoric, completely wrongly diagnosed. Brody has learned a persuasive, smart-sounding, somewhat seductive way of talking, but he seem to have no capacity to analyze movies. He merely lets the devils and fairies in his head dance on the page and assigns to them a kind of pseudoscientific language. It is sometimes entertaining but never remotely enlightening.

  • CBJ

    Brody’s a great writer and one of the few legitimate film critics in all senses of the term these days, but he’s auteurist to a degree that’s insane. If you’re on his “good” list, he will never pan you, and if you’re on his “bad”, well, you’re fucked in his book.

    If Joe Swanberg had directed “Gravity”, and it were the same film, Brody would’ve called it the film of the year.

  • K. Bowen

    Another person who hates the Super Mario of Space, i.e. Gravity. Awesome.

    • Magga

      That was what I thought when I watched it, that it was the Super Mario Galaxy of cinema, where you could repeat old cliffhanger tropes but without gravity and make it fresh. Love them both

  • bill weber

    the Before movies are a plague.

    • moviewatcher

      The Before movies are masterpieces of the romantic genre. They subvert it, embrace it, reject it, perfect it.

      • bill weber

        “You are the mayor of Crazytown.” Boy, what a shame Lubitsch and his writers never lived to perfect their clumsy wit into a gem like that.

        • Max Stephens

          Watching the Before films is like being trapped at an endless party by the most self-important twits in the world.

  • Steven Gaydos

    Brody wrote: “…Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, James Gray, Paul Thomas Anderson, David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky, and Quentin Tarantino. These were filmmakers who outran the confident naturalism of the seventies and the nostalgic verities of the eighties in pursuit of their own disruptive extravagances.”
    Except Brody’s two best movies of 2013 are made by two guys from the 1970s.
    Funny, eh?

    • Mechanical Shark

      The failure of some of these establishment critics to understand how cinema has evolved since the 70′s really speaks towards the terrible state of film criticism in general. Cinema is doing fine, but film criticism has collapsed into a couple of different, equally toxic ways of doing things. There’s the junketeers, the curmudgeons, the hipsters, the Anti-Americans, the geeks, the Oscar predictors, and the morality brigade. Some critics are multiple of those at once. For instance, David Denby is a curmudgeon and part of the morality brigade. He actually thought Do the Right Thing would cause rioting. For that, and other sins, he doesn’t deserve employment as a critic.

      • Ray Quick

        Mechanical Shark is usually wrong about literally everything, or at least too overtly PC and all, but this is a pretty perfect encapsulation of the current critical climate.

  • Gabe_Toro

    I’m being as polite as I can by telling you that using the name Terrence Wackadoodle makes you sound like a fucking retard.